How to write a good response to a client/customer complaint

By Andrew Neitlich

I got quite frustrated with my experience with Yahoo!’s Overture advertising service yesterday when loading up terms for a new site. I don’t know if you agree with me, but I find Google’s advertising interface much, much, much easier to work with than Yahoo!’s.

So I filled in a customer feedback form and sent in my complaint to Yahoo! Mostly I did this to vent, as I didn’t expect a response from a huge company like Yahoo!. Most companies don’t respond anymore to individual online complaints.

Yet Yahoo! responded with a terrific, personalized letter. (Had I known I’d get a response, I would have provided much more detailed feedback). I print the response here, because it is an excellent example of how to respond online to a complaint. I still like using Google much more, but at least I’m not going to cancel my Yahoo! account and stop advertising (which is where I was at yesterday). Notice how they cover in detail my issues, apologize where appropriate, explain their service, and give advice about things I can do better.

Here is their response, printed here as a template you might use for your sites or even clients:

Dear Andrew,

I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience these issues may have caused you. I have taken the liberty of resubmitting your listings that were incorrectly declined for Broken Site. According to my research, your listings that were declined for Blocked Site were also declined for Duplication of Results. This means that the keywords that you were attempting to add to your account, already existed in your account, and were seen as a duplicate of an existing listing. This means that the keywords you were hoping to add already exist in your account.

You are correct, after further review it was acknowledged that your site does not offer a product of service that Yahoo! does not to be affiliated with, and therefore the Blocked Site decline reason was an incorrect one. This decline reason did not affect the outcome of your submission.

The keywords that were declined for Insufficient Content, were declined correctly. You were attempting to bid on keywords like “business coach executive professional,” and “life and business coach,” but it is not clear if a user can actually find a business coach on your site, or if they will be referred to 3rd party for assistance with that request. If you were to offer more information on the “Locate an Executive Coach” section of your site, you could be approved for those keywords.

You may be interested to know that Yahoo! is developing a new advertiser interface that will offer business owners a more powerful advertising experience, and we plan to roll this interface out during the second half of this year.

I understand that there are several things in your account that you would like changed, and I would just like to let you know that we take advertiser feedback very seriously as we are always striving to improve our services. We welcome any additonal feedback you may have.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can be of any further assistance. Thank you for choosing Yahoo! Search Marketing!


Executive Services
Yahoo! Search Marketing

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  • http://www.SitePoint.com Matt Mickiewicz

    Good response.

    My complaint to Yahoo! about 2 days ago still hasn’t been answered…

  • John

    ahh, thats a good response you did get back from yahoo!, and I wouldnt have expected to get a response back thats for sure. Hopefully that new design they’re talking about releasing will be a good one for advertisers. I’ve been debating over going to yahoo! for all of my advertising needs, but I dont want to risk the thought that I might end up loosing money if I would make the switch from google. I’ll have to check them out here in a couple months to see what they have to hold.

  • http://www.ptpnewmedia.com ptpnewmedia

    Good response. While Google does have a better interface, we have had success with Yahoo for one of our clients. Over the last 2 months, our PPC campaign has provided 24 leads at an average cost of $3-$4 per lead. In addition, these leads are worth $2000-$3000 profit. I still don’t understand why our client does not want to get into Google again. We did a trial for a month but the CPL was about $8-$10. Who cares when you have profit like that!

  • http://www.brizk.com brakai295

    I totally understand your dissatistaction with the Overture/Yahoo interface. It’s crap! I complaint about several problems with Yahoo. One must say though, that they at least get back to you relatively quickly.

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